Food Workers, In Their Own Voices – East Bay Express

From the East Bay Express.



Food Workers, in Their Own Voices
A new oral history project attaches a face — and a voice — to the people who feed America.
By Luke Tsai @theluketsai


Food workers Luis DeLeon and Dominic Ware. Photo by Emmanuel Camacho.

I fell for it,” says Dominic Ware, his voice tinged with sarcasm. “For that brief moment, I was like, okay, this is how you get the American slice of the pie.”

Ware, an Oakland native, is talking about his first days as a cart-pusher at the Walmart in San Leandro, and he’s having a conversation with a new acquaintance, Luis DeLeon, a cook on a cruise ship. DeLeon chuckles, probably because he has heard this kind of pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps narrative all too many times: “You hear so many stories of people working nine days a week and doing it, and then they become — ten years from now — really successful.”

The conversation is part of “Voices of the Food Chain,” a new oral history project produced by the Food Chain Workers Alliance and Real Food Media in collaboration with StoryCorps, whose tear-jerking, minute-long segments are beloved by so many longtime NPR listeners. The multimedia project, which also includes a short video and gorgeous black-and-white portraits of food workers, officially launches at on November 18.


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